Trials Offered by a Specific Doctor

Bret Rutherford, M.D.
Dr. Bret R. Rutherford graduated with honors from Harvard College, where he studied Philosophy, and received his medical education at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He continued at Columbia to complete his residency training in Psychiatry and served as chief resident in his final year. Following residency, Dr. Rutherford received research training with a National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Fellowship in Affective and Anxiety Disorders under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Roose.

In 2010, Dr. Rutherford received a Career Development Award (K23) from the NIMH and was appointed to the Columbia Department of Psychiatry faculty as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry. His early work focused on conducting novel clinical trials with integrated neuroimaging to investigate the pathophysiology of Major Depressive Disorder and the mechanisms of placebo effects in antidepressant clinical trials. Subsequently, Dr. Rutherford began to focus on depression in older adults. His current work seeks to understand age-related biological changes that place older adults at risk for developing depression, influence its manner of presentation, and govern its treatment responsivity. To elucidate pathophysiologic pathways and probe mechanisms of therapeutic action, Dr. Rutherford’s studies combine clinical trials, enrolling depressed older adults with multimodal neuroimaging, including structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as well as positron emission tomography (PET). For example, he has received NIMH funding for studies of how cerebrovascular aging confers risk for antidepressant non-response (R01) and a whether enhancing dopaminergic signaling if effective as monotherapy for depressed older adults with psychomotor slowing (R61/R33).

Most recently, Dr. Rutherford has expanded his work beyond Late Life Depression to understand effects of brain aging on neuropsychiatric disorders more broadly. He recently received 2 NIMH R01s to investigate the mechanisms by which PTSD accelerates brain aging and hastens cognitive decline in older adults (“Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of the Accelerated Aging Phenotype in PTSD”) and to understand the mechanisms by which treatment resistant depression poses an increased risk for dementia (“Neurocognitive and Neuroimaging Biomarkers: Predicting Progression Towards Dementia in Patients with Treatment Resistant Depression”). Consistent with these goals, Dr. Rutherford has assumed the Directorship of the Neurobiology and Therapeutics of Aging Division in the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. The primary goal of the Division is to understand the complex interplay between aging-related biological processes and the pathophysiology underlying psychiatric disorders. By learning more about how the phenomenology, underlying mechanisms, and long-term trajectory of disorders differ between older and younger adults, Division investigators aim to develop improved prevention, early detection, and rationally designed treatment strategies for late life disorders.

Clinical Studies Managed By Dr. Rutherford:
More InfoTitleSponsorIRB Number
Details[CLOSED] Late-Life DepressionNIMH6836
Details[CLOSED] Antidepressant Augmentation Trial for Individuals aged 60 and upColumbia University7368
DetailsTreating Hearing Loss to Improve Depression in Older AdultsNational Institute on Aging7540
DetailsL-DOPA vs. Placebo for Depression and Psychomotor Slowing in Older AdultsNIMH National Institute of Mental Health7733
DetailsAccelerated Aging in PTSDNIH7489
DetailsDeveloping New Clinical Management Strategies for Antidepressant TreatmentsBinational Science Foundation7738